The town on Cozumel is actually named San Miguel, but everyone simply calls it Cozumel since it is the only real city on the island. It is on the western side of the island and it faces the mainland of Mexico. There are beaches and beach clubs to both the north and south of town.
There are also beach clubs on the other side of the island (the eastern side) and since the island is only about 10 miles wide it does not take long to get there. Swimming on the eastern side of the island can be dangerous since it faces the open ocean and there can be a very strong undertow and currents. We recommend swimming only at the beach clubs, and only in areas marked off as safe.
Just to the south of town there is a public beach called Playa Caletitas (photo below) with a beach club and restaurant.
Beginning about 7-8 miles south of town there are 4 Cozumel beach clubs right in a row.
Ocean, Carlos n Charlies, San Francisco and Paradise Beach
To the north of there are very few sandy beaches with easy entry into the water.
One Cozumel beach club north of town is called Buccanos, and another is called Playa Azul.
Buccanos (photos above) is a beautiful beach club with a swimming pool, a very good restaurant, lounge chairs, a sandy beach area, clean restrooms, etc. Mon.-Sat. there can be a lot of cruise ship people here so it can be crowded. Sunday is a great time to go. There is a charge to get in (I think it is now 120 pesos per person) but you will received "tickets" showing how much has been paid and what you have paid applies to any food or drinks you order. It's a great deal, and Buccanos is a Beach Club where you can stay all day if you wish.
There are a number of Cozumel beach clubs on the eastern side of the island. The eastern side of the island is a protected area, and the law right now is that no new construction can be built with man-made materials. This is a beautiful area, but since it is open to the ocean and the undertow and currents can be strong, so please only swim at protected areas at the beach clubs.
NOTE: May 2016. After living on Cozumel for 16 years, some of the photos we had of the beaches and beach clubs were old. We have been visiting the beach clubs and taking new photos. (Not a bad job to have, right?) The photos we have posted are up to date and as we take photos of additional beach clubs we will add them.